Another great blog piece written by Andrew Morris a Purple belt under Terere who is currently in Rio training and living in the Cantagalo Favela. Read more from Moz on his own blog Tales from Deep Half
This is how he spends his days as he readies himself for a trip to Sao Paulo to compete in the IBJJF Sao Paulo Open this coming weekend.
Gabriel taking first place in SJJSAF Tauron Cup
Awaking at 8:30 A.M. each day to make the morning class at the academy which begins at 9 A.M. This should be an easy task considering he lives just five minutes away. However, each morning is a struggle, like most seventeen-year-olds he is up late night. Although, his reason for being up so late is usually marathon sessions of Dragonball Z or Yu-Gi-Oh episodes.
The morning’s training is taught by Professor Fabricio; generally, these sessions are more technique driven and allow athletes to work on their respective games in comparison to the evening sessions which tend to be more focused on kill or be killed rolling.
Gabriel is fondly known to those in the academy as ‘Godzilla’, this nickname originated due to his skills as a passador, which is someone who specialises in passing guard.
Gabriel uses these morning sessions to focus on improving his guard game. He is currently working diligently on his half guard as well as the berimbolo.
At the end of this session, he hurries back home to refuel before getting ready for school.
His school day begins at 12:30 P.M., where he studies lessons in Portuguese, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, English, and Physical Education. He admits to not always being the most motivated of students, preferring to spend his time on the mats or in class visualizing Jiu-Jitsu. But he’s an intelligent young dude that enjoys science as well as having an interest in history.
He has one eye on his future goals, knowing how important it is to achieve them, he also takes a metro to Botofogo every Saturday to do extra lessons in English.
Gabriel and his younger brother
Gabriel is very lucky, living with his grandmother, Mum and two-year-old brother, Vinicius; he has the support of a loving family with is something that isn’t afforded to everyone growing up in the community.
When he doesn’t have school, which is more often than you might expect due to the abundance of national holidays which come thick and fast in Brazil, he meets up with Mestre Terere to help him prepare for his own super fight. Together they go and do ‘preparação físico’ (strength and conditioning) at Fitness Rio gym.
Any extra days off he uses to travel over the Connection Rio hostel in Barra where he trains No-Gi with visiting Jiu-Jitsu athletes from around the world.
After arriving home from school, there is usually time for a quick nap, some homework, and food before he is back to the academy for the evening session. Every day there is a high level on the mats which includes renowned black belt competitors from the Cantagalo community. In addition to international athletes who have traveled across the globe to come and train with Mestre Terere at his academy.
The mats can often be a scary place. However, Gabriel shows no fear mixing it up with higher belts. He uses his relentless guard passing, a never say die attitude and fights for everything. More often than not this leads to passing the guards of brown and black belts, much to their chagrin. When training concludes at 10 P.M. he still can be found drilling guard passes on tired looking partners.
Gabriel dreams of winning the European and world championships. Someday he would also like to own an academy, but right know his sole focus is on competing and winning as many tournaments as he can. With the work ethic he displays every single day, this is something that I would not put past him.
Gabriel training at the Connection Rio BJJ Hostel
For now, he is back watching Dragonball Z, ready to do it all again tomorrow.